Obama gets an assist from Bill Clinton in latest jobs push


Buoyed by a promising jobs report, President Obama said a fledgling recovery demands further action from Congress and again pressed lawmakers to extend a payroll tax holiday.

This time Obama had some high-profile help in making what is now a familiar argument on the main plank of his recent jobs push, with former President Bill Clinton joining him for remarks at a construction site near the White House.

Obama hailed the news that the economy added 140,000 private sector jobs last month, noting that “despite some strong headwinds this year,” there have now been 21 consecutive months of growth in the private sector.


“So we need to keep that growth going,” Obama said, adding that failing to extend the payroll tax cut and renewing unemployment insurance “would be a significant blow.”

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen,” he said. “Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. Right now it’s time to step on the gas.”

Clinton joined Obama as the pair announced a new initiative to renovate federal buildings to make them more energy efficient.

That type of project is near and dear to the former president, whose foundation has pushed energy-efficiency projects as a job creator in cities across the world.

“I believe as strongly as I can say that this is good business, creates jobs, makes us more energy independent and helps to fight climate change,” Clinton said. “It’s the nearest thing we’ve got to a free lunch.”

Of course the presence of Clinton, who won a second term in 1996 on the strength of a booming economy, was more than just about the partnership on this initiative.


“When Bill Clinton was president, we didn’t shortchange investment,” Obama said. “We lived within our means. We invested in our future. We asked everybody to pay their fair share. And you know what happened? The private sector thrived, jobs were created, the middle class grew, its income grew, millions rose out of poverty, we ran a surplus, and we were actually on track to be able to pay off all of our debt.”

“We were firing on all cylinders. We can be that nation again,” he said.